Will the designated German Foreign Minister follow Cameron's example? Massive increase of arrests in Tibet

Changes in the European China-policy: British Prime Minister will not mention the conflict in Tibet during his visit to China

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the European China-policy should not continue to ignore human rights issues. This weekend, the British newspaper "Guardian" reported that – according to British government sources – Prime Minister David Cameron will not bring forward the conflict in Tibet during his visit to China next week. Cameron's visit to China is supposed to intensify the economic and political relations which had cooled down following the visit of the Dalai Lama in May 2012. "Anyone who takes a stand for the rule of law cannot ignore the increasing persecutions in Tibet," said the STP's Asia-consultant, Ulrich Delius in Göttingen on Sunday. "The Chinese officials are disrespecting their own national laws as well as international law by repeatedly stirring up the tensions in Tibet.


The number of politically motivated arrests in Tibet continues to rise. According to the STP, at least 38 Tibetans were arrested in China for political reasons in November 2013. Twelve of them were set free after a week while the other 26 are facing long prison sentences. The detainees are accused of having prepared demonstrations, of showing banners in public or of keeping up contacts to Tibetans who committed suicide as a form of protest.

The STP fears that Cameron's example could soon find imitators in Germany. After the signing of the coalition agreement, the SPD's spokesman for foreign affairs, Rolf Mützenich, announced that the CDU's "confrontational" approach toward the future foreign policy will be replaced by a more "cooperative" approach.

In May 2008, Germany's designated Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier had refused to meet the Dalai Lama. He had publicly called this controversial decision "courageous". Trying to justify his refusal, he referred to an internal argument paper (which was quoted by Spiegel Online on May 17, 2008) regarding a telephone conversation with the Chinese Foreign Minister who assured him that China was planning a "real new beginning in the talks with the Dalai Lama". "Steinmeier was deceived by China's leaders," says Delius. "Until today, there has been no credible dialogue between the Chinese leadership and the

Dalai Lama – and all China-experts in Germany are convinced that China has no interest to do so either." Following a meeting between the Chancellor and the Dalai Lama on September 23, 2007 Steinmeier had accused Angela Merkel of "showcase politics".